Positioning trumps discipline in agency new business

I had an interesting twitter exchange the other day. One of the people following yours truly had asked if it’s better if a small agency say they can do everything or one thing. (You’re reading “one of the people following me”  because “one of my followers” sounds too zealous, right?!)

Anywho, yours truly suggested that your positioning trumps any / all marketing communication discipline talk. And thought the idea was worth more than 140 characters.

So, here are a few hundred on why you might want to lead with a clearly articulated agency positioning vs. a love all, serve all message:

  • Everyone claims they can do everything. This is no secret. Sharp prospects might ask a series of questions that help identify an agency’s true strengths. In fact, a question I’ve actually never seen on an RFP would get at the amount of freelance or partner work your agency might do. You know, the money that goes out the back door because you don’t have strong enough in-house chops. But we digress. No one firm can do everything well for all clients. Not even the alphabet soup agencies.
  • So, don’t be like the others. Try 7Up. Identify a set of words that can clearly and accurately capture your firm and the benefits you deliver to clients. Even writing these words drive me a little bonkers as they are over used, trite and begin to swim in the sea of sameness. Your being an uncola doesn’t have to be around a process. Though if that’s your bag, take a look at this post on building or borrowing a process positioning.
  • Being true builds trust. You may have read a lot on this blog about authenticity, trust, likeability and being yourself. With the trust of your clients, you can go far. And may even be able to provide services beyond the in-house skills and capabilities. Just sayin’. My favorite trust gurus for professional service firms include Charles Green and David Maister. David has retired, but both are worth checking out.
  • Carving out a position makes everything so much easier. Recent agency new business plans coming from Thunderclap include thinking on a positioning. New business strategies and tactics all stem from the position – which help tie everything together and maximize the outcome of an agency’s hard work. It builds ye olde synergy.

Hope this gets you thinking a bit. And, as always, should you wish to chat, feel free to connect with me at your convenience. Thanks!


P.S. Should you be a great big firm, check out this post on agency positioning: chunkifying.

Or, agencies of all sizes can appreciate one agency’s positioning that leverages insights around how clients work with their agencies.